November 23, 2009
4-star ATH Wells discusses change of plans
The Ku Klux Klan's short-lived rally on the Ole Miss campus Saturday didn't disrupt the electric game day atmosphere for the second annual Magnolia Bowl, but that brief appearance could alter the Rebels' recruiting - at least with one prospect.
Monticello (Lawrence County), Miss., athlete Matthew Wells, a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, planned to attend Ole Miss' dramatic 25-23 victory over then-No. 10 LSU but decided Saturday morning to skip the game due to the likely presence of the KKK.
"I was going to go and had been looking forward to it, but my mom didn't want me to go up there and be around that," Wells said.
About one dozen members of the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan assembled on the steps of Fulton Chapel and spent approximately 10 minutes waving flags, performing Nazi-style salutes and randomly gesturing to the about 250 people looking on.
The KKK announced its intentions earlier in the week, citing the removal of "From Dixie With Love" from being played at athletic events as the reason for attendance. While the group's appearance was in protest - and not support - of Ole Miss, the situation remains an uncomfortable one for Wells.
"It's just something to think about," Wells said. "I haven't really spent a lot of time on it or anything, but it's really weird. I'm not necessarily saying it changes anything big as far as my interest in Ole Miss, but it's also understandable to not want to be around it.
"I haven't talked to the Ole Miss coaches about it yet."
Wells was in contact during the day with Lawrence County head coach Mike Davis, who was in Oxford for the game.
"(Davis) said it really wasn't anything or a big deal," Wells said. "It wasn't some huge situation."
Said Davis: "I wouldn't have even known anything if I didn't read the papers," Davis said. "It was just a great environment and an excellent day for college football."
Wells has consistently named Ole Miss and Mississippi State as his co-leaders and will be in Starkville, Miss., for the annual Egg Bowl Saturday. He watched "most of the Mississippi State game and some of the Ole Miss game" this weekend.
"I'm looking forward to both teams playing and checking out both coaching staffs on the sidelines," Wells said.
Wells will soon schedule official visits to Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss and likely Tennessee.
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